These days, most households are on some kind of budget. Groceries can take up a sizeable amount of your money each week, with prices only getting higher every year. A lot of people focus on reducing their costs at the grocery store, utilizing sales and coupons. While these are good strategies, it’s also important to consider the cost of food that you end up tossing out because it goes bad before you could use it. These strategies can help you reduce the food and money wasted.
Bacteria is the source of your food spoiling and it is most able to multiply in warm, damp environments. Bacteria is present to some extent in all foods, but multiplies as time passes, decomposing the food and releasing the foul odors you smell with spoiled food. Mold is also a harmful nuisance, so inspect your fruits and vegetables before you buy them to make sure there is no mold visible.
Put your groceries away as soon as you get home and cover leftovers and open food containers before you put them in the fridge. Clean any spills inside your fridge right away with a damp paper towel, and give the shelves and drawers a thorough cleaning once a month. Make sure the temperatures for your fridge and freezer are set to the correct settings to avoid encouraging spoilage.
Tips for Preserving Your Food
- Milk: Keep your milk tightly closed and refrigerated at all times. Grab milk last at the grocery store and don’t allow it to get warm on the drive home. Don’t leave it out on the counter. The higher the fat count in the type of milk you buy, the faster it will spoil. Store milk on the top shelf, where the air is the coldest.
- Vegetables: Vegetables are a big culprit for food spoilage. All of us have had motivation to cook a new recipe or begin a healthier diet, prompting us to buy more vegetables than usual. Yet, when the time comes, we get too busy and the vegetables are left to rot in the produce drawer. Make sure to only buy the vegetables that you will actually use, in portions that are appropriate. Consider buying locally from a farmer’s market, if the option is available to you, because their produce will be far fresher than the grocery store. When you get home, rinse and trim your vegetables and dry them well before storing them. Check on your produce occasionally. If you have produce that is getting close to going bad, either use it immediately or prep and freeze the item for later.
- Meat: When you bring your beef, poultry, and other fresh meat home from the grocery store, remove it from the packaging it comes in and repackage it in a plastic or glass container with a lid, or with plastic wrap on top. Don’t let it sit out for too long and get warm. The longer the meat is exposed to air, the faster the bacteria will multiply, so quickly refrigerate. Place meat on the bottom shelf to avoid it dripping onto anything below it. Always pay attention to the use or sell by date stamped on the package. Fresh cuts of meat last about 3 days in the fridge, so if you won’t be using the item by then, wrap in foil and freeze.
- Leftovers: Most people keep leftovers with every intention of using them, only to forget about them until they get rediscovered in the back of the fridge weeks later. To avoid this all too common scenario, tightly cover leftovers with foil or plastic wrap and store in sight at the front of the top shelf. Any leftovers that have been unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours should be discarded.
Proper storage of your perishable groceries will go a long way toward keeping them fresh until you need them. However, if you’ve applied these tips and are still noticing that your food is spoiling faster than it should be, or feels warm to the touch, those are signs that something isn’t working properly with your refrigerator’s cooling mechanism. Contact CS Appliance Service and our repair professionals can assist you in diagnosing the problem and recommend the best solution.
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